MP


Movies&MP&MUSIC&pop culture&television&web15 Jul 2010 11:30 pm

So this week’s mashed potatoes represents something of a renaissance for me in that i’m discussing media that has reminded me why i like each of these delivery vehicles… a movie that was absolutely engrossing and struck an emotional chord… an album that reminds me why music is so powerful… a television show that hits on every level… a book that is inspiring (not in the way you might think)… and last, but not least, a series of commercials – yes, commercials – that gave me at least an hour of entertainment, but represented so much more…

well, what are we waiting for? off we go…

MOVIES: Toy Story 3

Pixar is simply untouchable when it comes to telling stories that resonate with everybody… Toy Story 3 culminates a trio of films that not only bring toys to life, but spurs the imagination of anyone paying attention… these toys find themselves dealing with struggles common to the aging process… we grow old, we search for our identity, we worry about our purpose, and – as represented in this last movie – we come to grips with our mortality…

the gang finds that Andy, their once-faithful owner has grown up and is headed to college… since college kids generally don’t play with Mr. Potato Head and other toys – okay, most college kids (you know who you are) – the gang finds themselves wondering if they’re headed for the trash can or the attic… turns out, they end up with option C, a day care center (a.k.a. retirement home?)… but even that isn’t what it seems and the action begins when Buzz, Jessie, and crew decide they need to escape…

Toy Story 3 is packed with action, filled with the unexpected, and certain to make you fight back a few tears… it’s simply amazing how much emotion can be conveyed through the eyes of toys, how many lessons can be learned about friendship and forgiveness, life and death… one more winner from Pixar…

MUSIC: Wicked Soundtrack

i know, i know… i’m so very late in jumping on this train…i mean, it’s at least five years old by now, right? (seven actually)… hey, i admit, i slept on it – even though many people told me how great it was and a few years ago it was quite popular… (you’re gonna be pop-u-ooo-lar)… and i’ll even admit that it was Glee that got me to check it out… a combination of their version of Defying Gravity and reminders of how absolutely fantastic Kristin Chenoweth can sing…

The songs range from fun and quirky, to serious and inspirational… listening to the album (on repeat for days) has given me a renewed sense of appreciation for music in general and has made me kick myself over and over for not going to see the show on Broadway… i also want to read the book, which has been on my shelf for a few years now, too… Anyway, it’s definitely worth checking out unless you absolutely can’t stand musicals… Stephen Schwartz has a masterpiece here – not that he needs me to tell him that…

TV: Friday Night Lights

in the world of television, there aren’t many shows with better writing, deeper characters, or more gripping plotlines than Friday Night Lights, which recently returned for season four… at least to NBC… i know that it aired previously on DirecTV’s special channel, but those of us without are getting it all now… and given that the main stars of the series “graduated” last season, it’s been amazing to see how fresh and relevant the show has remained…

yes, the show is about football, but that’s simply the premise behind a series that, um, tackles some incredibly difficult themes… this season has included issues of losing loved ones, abortion, and several other moral dilemmas… Also, the show features the most realistic, genuine, and compelling married couple in Coach and Tami Taylor… they argue and fight, but always recognize their love for each other… without giving anything away, the show has proven itself time and time again and this season has provided some of the most powerful moments on screen…

BOOKS: Devil in the White City

Erik Larson has crafted a history book that would’ve made me pay attention in history class growing up… the time is the 1890s and Chicago is on the verge of hosting the World’s Fair… the book, which features some of the finest bit of writing that i’ve read in a while – it’s eloquent and exquisite, describing the scenes in the most compelling ways – explains all the efforts necessary to pull off this enormous event… the fair was the birthplace for many things – Juicy Fruit gum, electrical lighting using alternating current technology, the Ferris wheel, and, oh yeah, American serial killers…

in the shadows of the White City, H.H. Holmes, America’s first serial killer, set up shop and conducted his dark and devious trade, leaving a body count of at least twenty-seven… Larson juxtaposes these two scenes, brilliantly interweaving storylines in a novel-like presentation that makes it seem somewhat difficult to fathom – much less believe… but true as it is, and dark as it may be, it’s definitely a gripping and chilling tale from the turn of the century… certainly America would never be the same again… i still have about 100 pages to go and i am still captivated by each page… and i just can’t get over how well it’s written… would that i could write like that in my own way…

MORE: Old Spice Commercials

seriously, Old Spice commercials… i can’t say that i was sold on the original airing of the “I’m on a horse” commercial… it did grow on me in a strange and unexplanable way, but even then i thought it was just the sheer idiocy of it all… with the follow up launching a couple weeks ago, the ad team apparently felt that they could do even more… so, for the last two days, the copy writers, camera crews, and social media gurus, basically took over the internet, launching a real-time, interactive campaign that found Old Spice Man answering tweets and comments with customized video spots throughout the day… reportedly, the team produced just shy of 200 videos over the course of two days and garnered an audience of around 6 million viewers… and these, my friends, were almost all comic genius…

i can’t recall a time that i was more okay with a shirtless dude talking at me for hours on end… that he stayed in character and that the writing team was churning out scripts and the video team getting them produced in an estimated rate of seven minutes per spot is simply astounding… unbelievable impact and respect earned, though i’m not sure if it was more for the ad team or Old Spice… either way, some of these are great… (My favorites so far, include @Haley (his daughter), @Demi Moore, and @GStephanopoulos)… the good news is that this success will probably change the way people advertise… other companies will surely launch similar campaigns… the bad news: other companies will surely launch similar campaigns… and they probably won’t be nearly as funny… well done Old Spice and Old Spice Man… and i mean that sincerely…

peace… love… bdg…

Bookshelf&MP27 May 2010 02:43 pm

Okay, with Lost and Idol done, i’ve got a little room to breathe… (there is plenty more to say about LOST and maybe Idol as well, but not now)… it’s time now for a quick glimpse into the media that’s (figuratively) pushing my guts up against my rib cage… this week’s mashed potatoes… off we go…

BOOKS: END OF THE WORLD?!?!
now playing: This Is How the World Will End – The Elms

i have a double dose of bookage here today, but they both kind of touch on the same topic… Will the World End in 2012? by Raymond Hundley and The Last Christian by David Gregory are both “set” in the future and both deal with end-of-the-world type themes… however, they are quite distinct from each other, despite these similarities, and they’ve both been on my mind lately… (and i got them both for free, if that matters)…

Will the World End in 2012?… my first thoughts in response to seeing this title were probably standoffish… i immediately wondered why anyone would write a book asking such a question… secondly, i was a bit irritated because it’s not the right question to be asking… and finally, i thought, “I’ve got to read this” perhaps harkening back to the collegiate instincts that caused me to try random (and often disgusting) combinations of food based on dares or boredom…

It’s a quick book to read, i’ll give it that much… it does seem to address all the major sources of speculation that the world is somehow scheduled to vanish in the final month of 2012, but it’s written at an incredibly high level so nothing is ever fully developed… and, with the high amounts of repetition, it feels somewhat like a bloated pamphlet, a feeling that is realized by the last two chapters… i was glad that Hundley reframed the question from “Will the world end?” to “What if it does?”… however, the method he chose – a glorified altar call to close out the book – left much to be desired…

i know it takes all kinds of people, and everyone responds to different approaches, but this made the book feel a bit like a bait-and-switch… regardless, it was pretty interesting at times, perhaps it would’ve been interesting at all times had it not been about 50 pages longer than it needed to be…

The Last Christian… next up is a work of fiction from the author who brought you Dinner with a Perfect Stranger and The Next Level, neither of which i’ve read, but if you have, then you also have a frame of reference for Gregory’s latest book…

the book takes place about a few generations from now, in 2088, where the majority of the world’s population has internet access embedded into their brains via microchips and world-renown innovator Bryson Nichols has just unveiled his latest invention, a silicon-based brain to replace the human brain and grant the owner eternal life…

The scene takes place amidst a “Judges 2:10” generation – one who “knew not the Lord, and the works which he had done” – that has all but done away with religion… and spends more time in virtual reality than actual life…

and then there is the protagonist… Abby, the daughter of life-long missionaries to the unreachable Inisi tribes of Papua, New Guinea, who has recently emerged from the jungle hoping to save her village from a strange disease… then, she gets a strange message from her grandfather, commissioning her to bring Christianity back to the US… and when a local doctor begins to investigate the disease, that’s when it all begins…

The Last Christian is a gripping tale of interwoven storylines and “DON’T OPEN THAT DOOR!” moments (you know, when you think you can prevent the character from doing what is certain to spell their doom)… plenty of twists and turns keep this adventure rolling along while readers keep reaching for that next page to turn… I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, but i’m pretty sure i got more than i could’ve expected… certainly a good read…

SO LONG, FAREWELL…

plenty more topics to write about… and plenty of work being done behind the scenes… thanks for your patience everyone… good things to be expected…

peace… love… bdg…

announcements&front page&MP&pop culture&web31 Mar 2010 12:22 pm

i’ve still got a rundown of LOST coming, as well as, some more thoughts and theories on the way, but i’m taking this brief respit to continue on with the mashed potatoes…

before i grab a spoon and dig in, though, i’m sure you’re wondering about the main site… i mean, it’s been “under construction” for a while now, right?… well, here’s the thing… i started out with a plan… i had a new design sketched out in my head, on a pad of paper and was pretty sure that it was ready to build out… then i got a new idea… so, i sketched that out… then… a newer new idea… and so it goes… the good news is, i’m set on a design now, and i’ve begun the actual process of making it work… (fans of theTRu on facebook can actually catch a glimpse of the new look)… there’s still a bit of heavy lifting to be done, and then some fine-tuning, but it’s motion… progress even…

and now back to the mash… so far, we’ve already talked about books and movies and music and television, which leaves us with… “more”… yeah, it’s a broad topic and it pretty much encompasses absolutely anything that crosses my mind and/or holds my attention… it’s kind of a wildcard category, so you never know what you’ll get, but it rounds out the full experience of entertainment onslaught… this week, it’s all about podcasts…

i think i’ve made it pretty clear in the past that i enjoy listening to the Steelehouse Podcast each week and the Tony Kornheiser Show each weekday, but below are three more that i have been listening to a lot as well and the time has come to speak openly about them…

GET FREAKY WITH IT

now playing: Super Freak – Rick James

I haven’t read Freakonomics or Super Freakonomics… i’m not an economist… and i’m not generally the type of guy who gets excited about – or even sits down to watch documentaries… but, i saw Steven Levitt on the Colbert Report some time ago, and i’ve wanted to read the aforementioned books… unfortunately, i’ve never gotten around to it… BUT… i feel a little better about myself now that i’ve discovered the Freakonomics Radio Podcast

Though tragically infrequent, the Freakonomics podcast always hits you with a little less than a half hour of compelling and thoughtfully provocative content from a perspective that’s most likely significantly different than your own… the tagline, “exploring the hidden side of everything,” is quite fitting as they tackle topics that are familiar, but provide opinions that are steeped in economic theory with no regard for popular beliefs… generally a fascinating discussion that’s not at all as nerdy as it may seem…

So far, there have been three full episodes (and three short teasers) and the third one introduced a handful of commercials, but it was still a fun listen…

TASTE THE RAINBOW

now playing: Rainbow – Colbie Caillat

this one’s not as new, but it is also an infrequent podcast – especially now that one of the three voices moved several states away… of course, i’m talking about Skittle Sandwich – two DJs and a musician chewing the fat for about an hour each… month?… i’ve been listening to this podcast since its inception which was about a year and a half ago and by now, i feel somewhat invested in it…

the trio of Dice, Matt, and Sara sit down and talk about life, music, and pop culture – three things i can hardly get enough of – and, perhaps the highlights are the many, many times when the conversation is derailed and rabbit-trailed… just like life… aparently it’s not always safe for the younger ears, but i’ve enjoyed the ride thus far and look forward to hearing it each month (or so)…

DON’T SHAVE EVER… DUDE

now playing: Dharma Lady – Geronimo Jackson

the last podcast is frequent, but fleeting… and it’s all about LOST… specifically an episode by episode look at the show, through the eyes of Jorge (a.k.a. “Hurley”) and “Sidekick22″… this is, Geronimo Jack’s Beard… the cool thing about this podcast is that most of the episodes were recorded over the summer as they recieved the script and their thoughts are based on what’s written in the script… And a good bit of that changes by the time the episode is filmed and edited… So, its
an insider look at each episode and the more recent episodes have bookended the original conversation with emails and comments from the current week… the downside is that when LOST is over… this is probably over as well… but while it’s here, it’s definitely worth checking out…

AND WITH THAT…

and speaking of checking out… i must bid you all adieu… Do you listen to these podcasts? other podcasts? what did i miss?… back later with LOST and more…

peace… love… bdg…

Bookshelf&MP24 Mar 2010 03:37 pm

okay, so i’m horribly off-schedule and i’ve come to a decision… i’m dropping the “monday morning” and simply going with “mashed potatoes”… the idea is still the same, it’ll still be a weekly thing, but it may not be posted on monday morning… actually, i don’t think any of them actually were… that said… continuing the introductory posts… i’m branching into books today with three from my “recently read” list… enjoy…

DISCUSSERING AMERICA…

now playing: America – Simon and Garfunkel

Well, i recently read two books about America… both were written by comedians and both have “America” in the title… that’s about where the similarities end… Stephen Colbert and Brad Stine would probably be at the opposite ends of the table in the banquet of life, but both profess a common affection for this country that they both call home… and, perhaps that’s exactly what makes the grand ole US of A such a great place to call home…

so, first up is Mr. Colbert’s pseudo-conservative ramblings packaged cleverly in a first-edition volume complete with stickers, activity pages, and a handy bookmark ribbon… and yes, Colbert has made his living playing the exaggerated stereotype and, though it can be hit or miss, many times the result is hilarious on television… in printed format, however, it’s more accurately miss or hit… it’s not that it isn’t an entertaining book, but unfortunately, many of the jokes were already familiar or just fell flat without the props or delivery… all in all, i enjoyed the book, but it’s not one that i’ll be reading again…



and in this corner, weighing in lightly, it’s an actual conservative, a stand-up comedian by trade with a budding acting career (perhaps)… it’s Brad Stine and his book, Live from Middle America… and while there are no puzzles, word searches, or pictures for that matter, the book still caters to the A.D.D. crowd that clearly dominates our cultural landscape these days… with short, punchy chapters that sort of build on one another, but stand alone easily and can be read days, even weeks, apart, without missing a beat…

in all honesty, the book reads much like a standup show is performed, basically picking a topic, mining it of all available punchlines and then moving on… lacking is the effect of in-person delivery, which often results in arriving at the punch before the words on the page are ever read… so, while the book certainly has its share of laughs (or perhaps chuckles), it probably would have worked better as an audiobook or, as i’m sure it has been on some level, as part of Brad’s stand-up routine…

“GET” LOST…
now playing: Losing My Religion – R.E.M.

it will come as no surprise that i happen to watch a certain show called LOST… so, when i was made aware of an upcoming book from one Chris Seay that promised to compare the engrossing narrative of my current favorite television action drama to the best narrative of all time, well i was immediately hooked and interested…

it wasn’t much longer before The Gospel According to Lost arrived in my mailbox ready for my consumption… in hindsight, i probably shouldn’t have read “Doc” Jensen’s extensive series of columns about the thread of redemption found throughout LOST before reading this book, nor should i have then expected this book to cover the same ground more thoroughly… but i did… and it doesn’t… and that’s actually fine…

truth be told, i was a little taken aback that “Doc” – of whom i knew and still know very little in regards to spiritual matters – seemed to have put together a more Biblically-based perspective for understanding the show’s core message… but in reality, Seay, who is a pastor – this much i know – takes a cue from “Darlton” and focuses more intently on the individual characters than the overarching themes of the story…

and to be fair, these chapter-by-chapter character studies are pretty interesting and certainly tie into a Biblical perspective as one might expect… it simply wasn’t what i expected to be reading… and as i stop to think about it, that’s probably good, too… either way you look at it, though, this “Gospel” is an enjoyable, insightful read and it certainly sheds light on LOST from an angle that’s not often shared…

NO MAS…

okay, so that’s that for the time being… i do still have one more set of mashed potatoes to discuss before we can begin the “regularly scheduled” episodes… and i’ll try to do that sooner rather than later… i suppose we’ll see though… i do have something else that’s rather pressing should i completely follow through on it… (which would be some kind of crazy, let me tell you)…

peace… love… bdg…

MP&MUSIC08 Mar 2010 05:31 pm

so it’s Monday again, and we’re just at the halfway point of introducing all five categories for Monday Morning Mashed Potatoes… hopefully you’ve been enjoying these and hopefully, i’ll get through the remaining two this week so that starting next week, these features will be taking a queue from its full name and occurring once a week (on Monday mornings-ish) and pullfrom each of the five categories… anyway, today the focus is music and i’ve got three doozies for you…

now, a quick note before diving in, there have already been a lot of good albums released this year and, i… well, i don’t get quite as many albums as i used to, so i can’t really speak to albums like, say, The Rocket Summer or TobyMac, or Fair… or even albums released this week, like Lifehouse, Meredith Andrews, Danny Gokey, or Pocket Full of Rocks… and, i’m not complaining, per se, but i want you all to know that if you ask me about certain albums, popular ones, i may not have gotten them…

once things get going a little more regularly, i certainly hope that i start getting more consideration… until then, we work with what we’ve got… off we go…

THE FUTURE’S SO BRIGHT…

now playing: The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades – Timbuk 3

certainly one of the most exciting music news of the last few days is the official release date for the new Deepspace5 album, The Future Ain’t What It Used to Be… the crew has signed on with Mega Royal Records and plans to release the album on April 27th… on top of that news is the official release of the amazing video for the lead single, From the Outside… which i’ve been enjoying for a long time unofficially and have now been playing pretty much on repeat for the last few days… it is highly, highly addictive and posted below…

as i’m sure you can tell, this is shaping up to be an unbelievable album… one that i’ll hopefully be able to get ahold of for early coverage… (*wink wink, nod nod*)…

A BOLD NEW WORLD?…

now playing: Rocky Road – NewWorldSon

when last i was in Nashville for the annual shindig known as GMA Music Week (RIP – another story), the talk of the town was none other than NewWorldSon… and, true to form, they put on a brilliant showcase performance – one of the very, very few to actually inspire all of the serious and uppity critics and collegues to move during the show… you see, it’s kind of a tradition, or expectation, that one remains serious and stationary during showcases, which can make things rather awkward for the folks pouring out their hearts and sweat on stage… NWS managed to break down that barrier and wow us all…

then came Salvation Station, their debut CD with Inpop Records that managed to – on some level – capture the essence of the live show with energetic arrangments and soulful vocals that might make listeners clap and move around at least a little bit… the album was well received and proved to be a solid effort worth repeat visits… however, for me, the album lost some of its luster over time and i was more than ready for some new material…

That preparedness was rewarded by the self-titled follow-up album released in February… the experience, though, is certainly a rocky road… it starts out pretty strong with “You Set the Rhythm” and maintains a steady keel until the back half where it begins to fade and fade quickly… while i still enjoy the album as a whole, i find myself skipping through the self-indulgence of “Total Eclipse” and “Jamaican Praise Medley” among others… i will say that “O Lament” is probably the best on the entire album and it’s likely because it translates so well to the recording… many of the other tracks leave me longing for a live performance…

This is, of course, a matter of opinion… the group is still immensely talented and probably still one of the better live shows… this album just didn’t keep me wanting to come back quite like the last one… [NewWorldSon is available at such fine retailers as Amazon, AmazonMP3, and iTunes]

STAR STUDENTS
now playing: Someting to Say – Starfield

speaking of bands who sound totally different in concert than on CD… Starfield is one of those bands that initially struck me – and this is years ago – as a band with some pretty good potential, but when i saw them live at Creation Festival, i was really blown away by their enthusiasm… mind you, pretty much every “rock” band sounds better, harder, stronger when they’re feeding off of a live crowd and hoping to get everyone moshing along with the rhythm, but Starfield was truly impressive… but their albums always seemed to leave a little something to be desired…

Well, that’s all changed and now they’re a band with loads of potential that has the added danger of being aware of their strengths… The Saving One reveals a band confident in who they are and more than capable of expressing everything they desire… this turn clearly began sometime around when they were working on the previous album (I Will Go, but has culminated with the honesty and well-craftedness of this release…

Certainly, rock fans will eat up the energy of the title track, Declaration of Dependence, and Overwhelm among others, but nothing on the album beats the heart-wrenching lyrics and delivery of Something to Say and Rediscover You… these two songs really bring some serious Psalms / end-of-myself type worship to the mix and they are just phenomenal… i’ve always liked Tim’s vocals, but these tracks in particular really make them pop… and it’s all-in-all a really solid effort, one that definitely proves that they’ve got it together…

[The Saving One is available at such fine retailers as Amazon, AmazonMP3, and iTunes]

WHAT SAY YOU?

okay, that’s what i’ve got to say… have you any experience with or thoughts onthese three choices? I’d love to hear it… that’s what makes life fun… next time on MMMP it’s books… see you then…

peace… love… bdg…

general&Movies&MP&pop culture02 Mar 2010 05:19 pm

on to the next area of interest… movies… now, this may not be the order in which i address these in the future – there may not be an order at all, really – but this is the way i’m going today… i’ve got three movies to talk about and hopefully i’ll be more succinct… i mean, i DO have other things to write about… not to mention a site that needs building… off we go…

Oh, before we begin, i suppose i should mention that i viewed all three of these movies for free because they want me to write about them… “they” being publicists and such… two of them sent me promotional DVDs and one granted me access to an online viewing area… with that taken care of, we shall begin…

BEHIND THE MASK
now playing: The Imposter – Kevin Max

The Imposter
first up is a movie that i believe has been in the works for at least three years… the film features Kevin Max, Jeff Deyo, and Kerry Livgren all of whom became pretty famous for their roles in widely popular bands with spiritual overtones (dcTalk, SonicFLOOD, and Kansas, respectively) before striking out with solo careers… and by “striking out” i don’t mean in the “Casey at the Bat” sense…

Anyway, the movie revolves around “Johnny C,” the frontman for the widely popular band with spiritual overtones, Grand_design… Johnny C is quite charismatic and, despite his position, marriage, and daughter, has a thing for the traditional spoils of rock and roll (think sex, drugs, rock and roll)… and the film chronicles his downward spiral and attempts at reconciliation…

There are some wonderful tongue-in-cheek moments to the film, such as the narration addressing the formulaic expectations for an emotional altar call scene and a loving father embracing his prodigal son… now, i don’t want to spoil anything, but i will say that i kind of liked the resolution as it transpired… Sure, the acting at times provided some moments of unintentional chuckling and the script has its share of stereotypes and flat characters, but all in all, The Imposter, proved to be a pretty enjoyable movie (if not uncomfortable due to potential parallels to the actors’ own career paths)… it’s the type of movie that might spark some honest dialogue about how we perceive celebrities and pseudo-celebrities… now, if i can only find that Jeff Deyo song from the movie called, “Push Me Over the Edge” or something to that effect…

THE LIFE YOU SAVE…
now playing: How to Save a Life – The Fray

To Save a Life
i feel like i’ve already written about this movie, but apparently not… actually, something pretty interesting happened after i watched it the first time… well, for me, anyway… the movie, as you can easily tell from the trailer deals with the effects of suicide on surviving classmates… now, in the days of my youth, i knew someone who took his own life… unfortunately, i’d guess that most of us know someone who’s done that… i remember going through some peer counseling classes to recognize the warning signs and learn the proper procedures for reporting and talking through issues in an effort to stifle the contagiousness of suicide… most of all, i remember feeling a sense of responsibility of prevention…

i don’t know if that’s a natural response, but as i watched Jake – the main character in the movie – struggle with a similar response, names came into my head… names of those i had “flagged” (for lack of a better word)… and, while that’s not particularly interesting in and of itself, shortly after watching the movie, out of the blue, i came into contact with one of those names and that’s the interesting part… that’s where i’ll leave it…

back on the movie… it’s kind of a teen movie with a conscience… there’s partying, carousing, and a lot of reminders of the high-school caste system we’re all glad to have grown out of (assuming we all did grow out of it, which isn’t necessarily the case)… and the main theme running through it all is Jake, the former best friend of a suicide victim, struggling with faith, responsibility, and life in general… and for the most part, that’s fine… it works well and you’re prett engaged in the story, rooting for who is clearly the hero and subconsciously forming the obvious moral of the tale…

and then, as if trying to hit seven targets with one arrow, it becomes exponentially more complex… Jake takes on a Job-like role and everything that was clear moments ago is buried knee deep in muddy waters… now, here’s the thing… complicated is good… life is complicated – i know this – but, you can almost hear the writers giggling to themselves and saying things like “you can’t make this stuff up” even though they did, indeed, just make it all up…

the bottom line, without spoiling anything, i really enjoyed watching To Save a Life and it was a meaningful experience… i just think that it could have been more impactful if it had stuck to one main important theme instead of stuffing in a bunch of additives that deserve equal time but are relegated to minor roles… still, plenty to talk about afterwards and probably beneficial to a youth group…

CHOOSE WISELY…
now playing: Choose – Christy Nockels

Sarah’s Choice
okay, this blog entry is getting rather long, and it’s probably best that this ends up being the shortest of the reviews… Sarah’s Choice is, unabashedly, a vehicle for the pro-life movement… now, keep in mind that i’m very much pro-life… i think abortion is a choice that’s made when the wrong question is asked… that said, unlike the Tim Tebow Superbowl ad, this movie DOES offend me… more on that in a second…

first, the good points… Brad Stine does a fine job in his role… it was a surprising performance that anchored the “guy-side” of the story… in fact, that aspect of the movie actually worked really well… also worth noting, there’s a scene or two involving balloons that play rather well (trying to remain spoiler-free)… there may be other good points, but they’re escaping me at the moment…

okay… no more delays… overall, the acting was definitely B-movie or worse grade… the last time i saw Rebecca St James in concert, i was amazed at how incredibly awkward she seemed on stage and her performance in the role of Sarah deepened that impression… perhaps the only thing worse was the ridiculous treatment she receives from her boss and coworkers (completely unrealistic)… and the storyline was downright irritating…

if you’re wondering how a pro-life movie could offend a pro-life viewer, here’s how it works (and this may spoil some plot points, but i’ll do my best)… borrowing from A Christmas Carol – haven’t seen that before – Sarah is visited by a ghost of the Christmas that could be… she’s presented with visions of two possible outcomes – one if she chooses abortion and one if she keeps the baby… and it’s basically a choice between a life of roses and champagne, where she gets married, has tons of free time to spend with her daughter, and seems to live the easy life of happiness… and the other life, is one of solitude, pain, and, apparently, terminal illness…

the issue of regret was introduced elsewhere in the movie and (i think) should’ve been the big argument made, but instead we got absolute extremes that make little logical sense and, yes, offend me… if we can’t deal in honesty, then we shouldn’t be dealing in issues… i mean, it’s easy to drop superlatives in order to make a point, but it’s not accurate and it rings so incredibly false that it encourages opposition… i could probably go on and on about this point, but hopefully i’ve made it and now, i’m just moving on…

i have to say that it’s perfectly fine to pass on Sarah’s Choice… it’s an incredibly stereotypical “Christian” movie… and i honestly wish it weren’t…

ROLL CREDITS…

that’s a wrap as far as movies go… stick around for mashed potatoes from books, music, and more… soon… and while you’re waiting, check out the first entry, monday morning mashed potatoes in television

peace… love… bdg…

MP&pop culture&television01 Mar 2010 02:53 pm

it’s Monday, and it’s March, and i’m chiming in like a lion… well… i’m chiming in anyway… i’ve been “under the hood” on and off, redesigning and now, rebuilding, the front page, and i hope to have that all functioning soon, but there is still a lot to be done on that front – plenty of restructuring content, redoing how it’s all stored and displayed, you know, nerdy little details that don’t matter to anyone else unless they don’t work..

regardless, since that’s still a ways off, and i haven’t been putting too much out there in the way of new content, i wanted to go ahead and unveil one of the new things that i’m looking forward to making a regular feature… something i’m calling “Monday Morning Mashed Potatoes” (MMMP)… basically, this will become a weekly sounding board for me to talk about five or six things that will be on my radar in the coming week and why… sometimes more, sometimes less, but it should be fun… since this is the first one, i’ve got a lot in the list, so i’ll be breaking it up into a series seperate posts based on the type of media involved… first up, television…

YOU’LL SHOOT YOUR EYES OUT, KIDS
now watching: Mens Hockey: Gold Medal Game – USA vs Canada

So the Winter Olympics are (FINALLY) over and, aside from a few shining moments – the 3 US Gold night, being one – it was utterly lackluster for me… i lost interest early and often in all the events and was entirely sick of NBC’s “Oprah” approach to Olympic coverage… it seemed that each event was buried by hours of docu-drama footage and i honestly don’t want to know that much about the people competing… i certainly don’t want the folks over at the network manipulating my emotions and subversively telling me who i should be supporting… this seems to be the new MO of “reality” television in general and i suppose it works on some level, but i don’t like it one bit…

Anyway, one positive note is that the Olympics saved the best for last… yesterday was the final event, the gold medal game in men’s hockey… the set up took care of itself (as it should)… the US underdogs upset Canada a mere week before, leaving a taste for vengence up North and a sense of hope for the Americans… and they clashed again, in what was an epic battle chock full of heart-stopping moments and nail-biting scenarios… if you’ve managed to avoid the results thus far and are still looking forward to watching this game on your DVR or whatever, i’ll spare you the spoilers, but that, was easily the best event of the entire Winter Games… even people who never watch hockey (ie. 95% of America) were glued to the coverage…

WE NOW RETURN YOU TO YOUR REGULAR SCHEDULE…
now playing: Welcome Back – Theme from Welcome Back Kotter

piggy-backing on the end of the Olympics, is the return of normalcy during primetime… this means that my DVR will finally have more than episodes of LOST and American Idol for me to watch… i’m specifically happy to see Chuck and The Office return to the schedule, but i’m also looking forward to checking out Parenthood and The Marriage Ref to see what they have to offer… i kind of missed the sneak preview of the Marriage Ref last night, but it looks like it will be a fun show, and i really like the tagline (official or unofficial) “Thank you for letting us into your marriage – it’s worth fighting for”… talk about counter-culture…

BLESSINGS IN DISGUISE…
now playing: I’m Not Who I Was – Brandon Heath

and to wrap up this extended television, um, set… i’d like to talk about a new show that i have been watching and, thus far, enjoying… the show is called Undercover Boss and the premise is downright intriguing… a corporate big wig dons the life of an Average Joe for one week and tries out the blue collar functions that fund his or her high life…

this, of course, is filmed and edited down into fun soundbytes where the big boss’s new bosses say things like, “You don’t have much of a future here” and “Maybe you should look into a different type of work”… What’s really cool about the series, though, it exposes the ever-growing gap between workers and managers, shedding light on the utter disconnect and often amusing discoveries… for instance, is it possible that the CEO of Hooters was really surprised to learn that the general public doesn’t think his restaurants are family-friendly?…

overall, this show provides a really fun look into the corporate world and offers the premise of improving the work environment for all… currently airing on Sunday nights, this show rivals Extreme Home Makeover for feel-good reality television, though i can also see this as a short-lived experiment… time will tell, but i like what i’ve seen so far…

FIN.

that’s all from the world of television for this week… stick around for mashed potatoes from movies, books, music, and more… soon…

peace… love… bdg…